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Tuesday, 15 January 2013

David Baddiel - the Secret Purposes

review by Sue Major live on show 17th Jan 2013

I must come clean right at the beginning and admit to a fascination with all things Jewish, so I first  chose this book for no reason other than the dust jacket has a star of David on it! I must also admit that with a writer/comedian like David Baddiel I fully expected it to be ,shall I say , flippant.

The story begins in Konigsberg in early1934 where Isaac Fabian's  father , a rabbi, finds life increasingly unpleasant at the hands of  the Sturm Abteilung( the brownshirts) who are enforcing the boycotting of Jewish businesses and limiting where Jews could go in the city .The story then moves to England and the Isle of Man during WW2. It  takes us into the world of  prejudice, suspicion and internment both in Germany and in Britain.

Isaac and his non-Jewish wife and daughter manage to leave Germany to escape the threat of Naziism , and believe that they have found peace and safety in England. Instead they meet further prejudice and mis-trust , particularly from the Government. Isaac is arrested and interned with many other Jews on the Isle of Man, and so then his story  really begins.

It is described on the dust jacket as “ a tale of love”.....but it is much more than that. There is humour, sadness, misery, but also a deep insight into Jewish tenacity . There is also well researched historical information against which the Fabian family's  story is set...and that in itself made this a good read

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